A singer and songwriter whose music is a lively, passionate mix of roots rock, contemporary folk, and mature pop, Jamie Kent is a native of Northampton, Massachusetts. Born in 1988, Kent grew up in a household where he was exposed to an eclectic variety of music, ranging from Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Cab Calloway to the Beatles and Sly & the Family Stone. Kent's passion for singing came about when he auditioned for his high school's production of Pippin in hopes of impressing a girl and discovered how much he enjoyed performing for an audience. (He also assembled a mariachi band for a school talent show that ended up becoming the audience's favorite.) After graduating from high school, Kent enrolled at Babson College, while also studying voice at Boston's New England Conservatory of Music. Kent graduated from Babson in 2009, and was soon pursuing a career as a musician.
After establishing himself on the local music scene, Kent self-released his first album, Neoteny, in March 2010. Kent also assembled a backing band, the Options, which began as a trio with his guitar and vocals accompanied by bassist Rhees Williams and multi-instrumentalist Tim Boucher. As Kent built his career and his brand, he took the unusual step of creating what he called "The Collective." While also the name of his label and publishing company, "The Collective" referred to a group of fans and supporters who, in exchange for contributing money to fund Kent's projects, are given access to new and unreleased music, passes to his shows, official merchandise, and the opportunity to provide input on certain creative and business decisions. With the support of The Collective, Kent was able to focus on his musical career full-time, and within a few years he was playing up to 200 shows a year.
On early recordings such as Neoteny, Kent's acoustic groove style suggested a stripped-down version of the Dave Matthews Band, but with time, his songwriting became more subtle and literate, and his melodies started showing the influences of contemporary folk and roots rock. Kent's second album, Navigation, appeared in 2012, and 2015 saw the release of a five-song EP, Embers and Ashes. By this time, Kent had relocated to Nashville, Tennessee, and as his music had evolved, so had the Options, now featuring Kent, Williams, Ryan Hommel on electric guitar and pedal steel, and Dan Holmes on drums. In 2016, Kent completed his third full-length album, All American Mutt. Produced by Dave Brainard, the album was Kent's first for Road Dog Records. ~ Mark Deming